How Big Was Rome at Its Height?

By Michael Ferguson

Throughout history, Rome has been hailed as one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. At its height, the Roman Empire stretched across vast territories, encompassing different regions and diverse cultures. Let’s delve into the details and explore just how big Rome was at its pinnacle.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire reached its zenith during the reign of Emperor Trajan in AD 117. At this time, it spanned over 5 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles), making it one of the largest empires in history.


In Europe, Rome ruled over present-day Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Turkey (partially), England (partially), and many other smaller regions. The empire’s borders extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.


In Africa, the Roman Empire included modern-day Egypt, Libya (partially), Tunisia, Algeria (partially), and Morocco (partially). The empire’s control over these territories facilitated trade with Sub-Saharan Africa.

Middle East

The Middle East played a crucial role in Rome’s expansion. The empire encompassed parts of modern-day Iraq (Mesopotamia), Syria, Lebanon (partially), Israel/Palestine (partially), Jordan (partially), and Saudi Arabia (partially).


As Rome continued to expand eastward, it incorporated parts of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) and Armenia.

List of Provinces

  • Gallia – comprising modern-day France and Belgium
  • Iberia – including present-day Spain and Portugal
  • Britannia – covering the majority of England and Wales
  • Pannonia – located in parts of Hungary, Austria, Croatia, and Serbia
  • Dacia – encompassing parts of Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria
  • Aegyptus – ruling over Egypt and parts of Sudan and Libya
  • Syria – comprising modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine (partially)
  • Mesopotamia – including parts of modern-day Iraq and Kuwait (partially)
  • Cilicia – located in southern Turkey (partially)

The Roman Empire’s vastness led to cultural assimilation as well as the spread of Roman architecture, engineering, language, and governance systems. The empire’s road network allowed for efficient travel between provinces.

The Decline of Rome

Despite its grandeur, the Roman Empire faced numerous challenges that eventually contributed to its decline. Internal conflicts, economic instability, invasions by barbarian tribes such as the Visigoths and Vandals, as well as plagues weakened Rome. By AD 476, the Western Roman Empire fell while the Eastern Roman Empire continued to thrive as the Byzantine Empire.

In conclusion, at its height during Emperor Trajan’s reign in AD 117, Rome stretched across Europe (including present-day Italy), parts of Africa and Asia. Its vast territories were governed efficiently through a network of provinces. Though Rome eventually faced decline and fragmentation, its impact on history, culture, and governance remains undeniable.